Gardeners’ donation helps Cyril’s memory grow on

Anne Dunn and Geoff Price(far left) of the Easington Welfare Hall pictured with  Easington Allotment Association officials(left to right) Colin Cooper, George Otterwell and Rod Calvert.
Anne Dunn and Geoff Price(far left) of the Easington Welfare Hall pictured with Easington Allotment Association officials(left to right) Colin Cooper, George Otterwell and Rod Calvert.

THE widow of a community stalwart who brought a much-loved centre back into use has accepted a £10,000 donation towards the venue’s development.

Cyril Dunn, secretary of Easington Social Welfare Centre, died of heart failure in July.

The 72-year-old had appeared on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire programme when marketing tycoon Carl Hopkins went undercover before handing over £12,000 to help revamp the former miner’s hall.

His widow, Anne, accepted a donation of £10,000 on behalf of the centre from Easington Colliery Allotments Association.

Sadly, the 83-year-old association has disbanded due to a lack of young talent willing to run the group.

As a parting gesture, the group, which had 800 members, donated £17,000 amassed from membership fees and stock to local groups, including the centre.

The local Salvation Army, Easington Methodist Church, Easington Colliery Church of Ascension, Easington Colliery Our Lady Roman Catholic Church, Age Concern Easington, Easington Junior Cricket Club and Haswell and District Mencap were each given £1,000.

Mrs Dunn accepted the £10,000 at a presentation ceremony at the centre, in Seaside Lane.

Last weekend Mrs Dunn made her first trip to the centre since her husband’s death when Mr Dunn’s exhibit came ninth in a leek show.

The grandmother-of-four, who took along her son, Michael, 46, and daughter Susan Lewins, 51, said: “It was emotional, my husband did a lot for the centre. I was proud to accept it for him. Cyril left a wonderful legacy and was well-admired.

“Cyril had already approached the allotments association regarding funding and it’s a comfort he knew they were going to donate the £10,000.

“I’m so sorry the association is folding, it was well used.” Centre manager Geoff Price said: “We are delighted with the donation.

“We were thinking about putting it towards our grander redevelopment project but at the moment we are not getting any great response from other funders.

“We will hold on to it for a while and see if we can come up with another way to generate ideas to use it. One of the main priorities is disabled access.

“All our trustees and members of the centre are grateful for this fantastic donation.

“It’s worthy of the association to realise this building is very important to the people of Easington.”

Association secretary Colin Cooper, a 61-year-old ex-miner who was chairman of the welfare hall in the 1980s, said: “Nobody wanted to see the association close, but nobody wanted the responsibility of managing it.

“We have a constitution that says we have to give any money left to local charities. I’m pleased to see the money’s going into our own place to benefit the people of Easington.”

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